Fort de Toulon, VarFort de Toulon, Var
©Fort de Toulon, Var|L.Chovelon

In the footsteps of the WW2 landings in Provence

During your stay in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, open up a page of history. Discover the heritage of WW2 and the traces it left in the landscapes of the South of France.


WW2 Heritage in Provence

Let’s go back half a century to the 15th August 1944, when the Allied Forces landed on around eighteen beaches between Toulon and Cannes. Now it’s your turn to tread the beaches of Operation Dragoon in Provence! Relive history on the sand and pebble beach of Le Dramont in Saint-Raphaël and its unique panorama of the Cap du Dramont and L’île d’Or. Stop in front of the stone commemorating the landing of the allied forces on the beautiful beach of Le Canadel at Rayol-Canadel-sur-Mer. Go round the Musée-Mémorial National du Débarquement en Provence in Toulon: a lovely visit somewhere between a historical reenactment and a remembrance awaits you at the top of Mont Faron. And for the more curious among you, we recommend you follow the circuit suggested by Le Lavandou Tourist Office, to discover the heritage which bears witness to this historic episode. And lastly, a date to save, 17th August in La Londe-les-Maures, which celebrates every year the liberation of the town with a commemoration of Operation Dragoon in Provence. In 2021, the town inaugurated the Chemin de la Mémoire du Débarquement de Provence.

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Une publication partagée par Jé Gas’r (@jero_gsr)

Heritage and a visit of the Alpine Maginot Line high up in the mountains

Head for the Maginot Line for a long escapade. The French borders are dotted with forts and fortresses built between 1929 and 1940, and many of them can still be seen today. On your hikes, you will come across many lookout posts, forts, barracks, and even bunkers. The little infantry construction of Les Aittes in Cervières is well worth a visit. Explore the 350 metres of galleries carved out of the mountain and three firing posts. In those days, the soldiers could live there in complete self-sufficiency for around thirty days! And to continue this adventure, let’s head for the Fort on the Alpine Maginot Line in Sainte Agnès, high up on its rocky spur above the bay of Menton. A complete underground town was hidden there at more than 55 metres below the surface. The village is classified among the “Plus Beaux Villages de France”.

Places of remembrance

The commemoration of the Operation Dragoon landing also takes place in several museums and historical monuments in the region. If you are visiting Nice, the Musée de la Résistance Azuréenne has an immersive itinerary. A story in nine steps awaits you where you can trace the history of the armed resistance against the Vichy regime and the German and Italian occupation on the Côte d’Azur. The Camp des Milles in Aix-en-Provence is also an important venue: this French internment and deportation camp has remained intact and certain works created by artists who were interned here can still be seen. Continue your visit of Provence with the Musée d’Histoire Jean Garcin in Fontaine de Vaucluse. The venue tells the story of the life of the French people during the Occupation, the Resistance in Vaucluse, and highlights the commitment of many poets, writers and artists.

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